Oral cancer refers to cancer that develops in any part of the mouth including lips, tongue, cheeks, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and pharynx. It appears as a growth in the mouth that does not go away and is life-threatening if not diagnosed early. It is one of the several types of cancers that are much easier for doctors to treat if spotted early.
The most common symptoms of mouth cancer include swellings, lumps, and rough spots on the lips, gums, cheek, or other areas inside the mouth. Unexplained bleeding in the mouth, loss of feeling, and difficulty in chewing or swallowing also indicate oral cancer.
Oral cancer also shows symptoms like change in voice, dramatic weight loss, and swelling in the jaw.
The dentist first conducts an oral cancer screening exam when the patient goes for a routine dental examination. They check the neck, face, head, and oral cavity and feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes. They also check for any sores or discolored tissue while examining the mouth. The dentist makes use of a biopsy to determine the composition of a suspicious-looking area.
If the disease is found, surgery is performed followed by radiation therapy and chemotherapy to destroy the cancer cells.
Some health habits make a person more likely to get oral cancer. Therefore, it is essential to maintain a well-balanced diet and eliminate smoking and the use of tobacco. Using tobacco paves way for dangerous cancer-causing chemicals as they expose the cells in the mouth. Also, chronic excessive alcohol drinking leads to mouth cancer as it can irritate the cells in the mouth.
Repeated exposure to the sun heightens the threat of cancer on the lip. It is therefore wise to use sun-protective lotions on the skin, especially lips. Wear a hat that effectively shades the entire face of the person. Always stay in the shade when possible.
A person can take an active role in detecting oral cancer by conducting a self-examination once a month. By making use of bright light and mirrors, check all the areas in the mouth, and back of the head. Visit the dentist if any changes are noticed.
Schedule an appointment with Dental Design Studios if you have any persistent signs that bother you for the last few days. We are located at 2323 E Guadalupe Rd. #101 Gilbert, AZ 85234. Contact us at 480-621-5535 or visit our website to book an appointment.